I recently had the privilege to take part in Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and took on the challenge of reading a middle grade book, something I don’t normally do.
Read on to find out about this title and MCBD.
Moving Target by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Series: Series #1
Read: January 15 – 26, 2017
My Book Rating: 3 Stars
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure
Reading Challenges: European Reading Challenge & #2017YARC
ABOUT THE BOOK
Cassie Arroyo, an American studying in Rome, has her world ripped apart when someone tries to kill her father, an art history professor at an Italian university. Is she their next target?
Cassie sets out to uncover what is happening, only to learn that she is a member of an ancient bloodline that enables her to use the Spear of Destiny—a legendary object that can alter the future. Now running from a secret organization intent on killing those from her bloodline, Cassie must—with the help of some friends—decipher the clues that will lead her to the Spear.
Christina Diaz Gonzalez has created a fast-paced thrill-ride of a book, rich with riddles and myth, that young readers will not want to put down.
Special thanks to the MCBD for providing a copy in exchange for this review.
Another reviewer compared Moving Target to the DaVinci Code and I have to agree. It’s like DaVinci Code Light. Or Diet DaVinci Code. It’s a great introduction to kids who are into that kind of adventure story.
This is a fairly short book, so I personally could have done with some more character building, but I think for the target age there is just enough for them to get connected and engaged.
The action starts off with a bang – literally – when Cassie and her dad start running from she doesn’t even know what. When Cassie’s dad is shot, she’s on her own, left with only one cryptic clue from her father, which sends her down the rabbit hole and change her life forever.
I like that the author chose to use the Spear of Destiny as the object the kids are after. I like the lore she created for the Spear, that one person can control the destiny of the world. And I love that if Cassie gets her hands on it, the fate of the world will rest in the hands of an 8th grader. Yikes!
The action in this book was pretty much non-stop, only slowing down in the beginning once Cassie gets to the Monastery. I’m really not sure if there’s anything else that could have helped that though because that info needed to be given, the scenes had to happen.
It was cool to see a variation of languages in this book as well. Cassie’s father is of Cuban descent so she and her father speak Spanish from time to time. The story takes place in Italy, so there is also some Italian sprinkled in. It makes me want to start using my DuoLingo app again because I recognized some of that Italian, but I couldn’t translate it in my head!
Some of the riddles/puzzles Cassie had to solve to complete her quest were too easy in my opinion. It baffled me that no adult character had figured it all out sooner. I had to keep reminding me that the target audience for this book would not have the same reasoning skills as an adult.
The characters also read a little young to me. I kept forgetting that the girls were 8th graders and Asher was 15. They just felt younger to me.
There was a twist at the end, but I saw it coming, which was sort of disappointing. Until the last twist happened that I did not see coming, so that was a real treat! I’m curious to read the second book just to see what comes next for Cassie.
Overall it was a quick read. It wasn’t a book I couldn’t put down, but I also didn’t dread having to pick it up again. For me as an adult, it was average. But I’m not the target audience and I think middle grade kids will enjoy it.
So, should you read it?
I don’t think adult readers will get much out of this story, but I think middle grade kids would, especially those who like fast past books with puzzles and riddles. I considered having my 4th grader read it, but I think she may be a bit young for it. Perhaps in a year or two.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She is the author of the award-winning novels, The Red Umbrella, A Thunderous Whisper, and the action-adventure duology, MOVING TARGET RETURN FIRE (Scholastic).
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
Scholastic was founded in 1920 as a single classroom magazine. Today, Scholastic books and educational materials are in tens of thousands of schools and tens of millions of homes worldwide, helping to Open a World of Possible for children across the globe. The mission of Scholastic is to encourage the intellectual and personal growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Scholastic will also be helping with social media efforts surrounding this event and working to get the MCBD the message out. We will have more details and images in the days to follow, but in the meantime we simply wanted to share the good news. Be sure and connect with Scholastic on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and multiple other social media outlets.
What did this bald-headed, bow-tie-wearing, tweed-jacket-loving teacher have against me? I might not be a great student in his World History class, but I got good grades in my other classes.
Choices determine destiny.
It was similar to something my dad used to tell me when I was little. He’d remind me of how my mother would always say that the beauty of life was its uncertainty. How you could choose your own future and nothing was preordained.
It had never been more true.
I had to choose to be hrave.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Delores Connors, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand, Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Other Important Links:
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents